I have an elven wizard that has found a huge stash of valuable loot by chance of trap-door discovering a multi-boned level. Unfortunately, he's about to die of starvation locked in a room, or be killed by the invisible monster that killed the others. He's too deep for him to fight and prayer is used up, he's going to die. I'd hate to see all this loot vanish before another more worthy character gets a chance to sort through all of it. Can I do something to ensure this level makes the bones file? If so, how? If not, what are the odds that it will store as bones?

2 Answers 2


Assuming you aren't on one of the levels that can't leave a bones file (basically any level that isn't randomly generated), there is a (depth/4)/(1+depth/4) chance of leaving a bones file. Both of those (depth/4)s are integer division, that is, rounded down.

There is no way to guarantee a bones file, but if you're deep enough into the dungeon, you're very likely to get one.

Reference: http://nethack.wikia.com/wiki/Bones#Ineligible_bones_levels

  • THX, so just to clarify, he's on L11. (11/4)/(1= 11/4)= 2.75/3.75= 0.733. rounding at finish. Or do I round to 2/3? Either way, odds favor, which is good because one of the bones is of my only character to ascend (killed by Rodney---BTW, he doesn't stick around , does he?)
    – slowball16
    Oct 13, 2015 at 16:50
  • 1
    You round to 2/3. And no, Rodney doesn't stick around (but also any Amulet of Yendor you find in a bones file will be fake). How do you have a bones of a character who ascended? I guess you just mean started to climb and was killed on the way up?
    – Brilliand
    Oct 13, 2015 at 17:21
  • 2
    @slowball16 When one talks about "ascending" in nethack, it's about winning the game not merely running back to the surface.
    – tjd
    Oct 13, 2015 at 17:22

One other possibility would also be to rev-genocide a monster that is typically more likely to turn your dead body into one of its own, such as a mummy or vampire. Let it/them go ahead and "ghost" you (pun intended) and just keep your fingers crossed, provided you still have any.

  • This won't have any effect on the probability of bones file generation---all it would really do is create a much more difficult situation when the bones file is encountered. May 8, 2019 at 15:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .